Archive for March, 2009

Make The Committment, It Will Change Your Life

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Buyers, Real Estate Advice on March 29, 2009 by realtordebbie

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!

Making a commitment to purchase real estate is a life changing experience. Whether this is a home for your family, a piece of land that you are holding for your dream home at a later date, or an investment property, owning real estate changes the way you look at your life, the way you handle your financial future.




For a first time home-buyer, making a commitment to purchase a home is often the first step to financial stability.  Many first time home-buyers leave showing appointments with the greatest frustration yet when they find “the one” they leave with the biggest smiles and sense of urgency, nervousness and excitement.  My job is to help these buyers remain calm and focused while educating them about the business part of a transaction. This will be one of the largest financial commitments people will make, and the first home-buying experience is the most important. It is the one that will shape their outlook on future home purchases. There are 9 Steps to Home Ownership, click here for a printable version of these steps.


There are three requirements I ask of my first time home-buyers.


  1. First, make a formal loan application. Let’s look at every aspect of your ability to purchase. Qualifying for a loan need not be difficult but will reveal any red flags that must be handled first such as credit issues, purchase price and payment comfort zones. We are not going to shop for what we cannot afford. Get loan counseling before you commit to such a major investment.
  2. Secondly, think 5 years from now.  I want you to see yourself in your home for at least 5 years. First time home-buyers should not be thinking of “flipping.” They should be thinking about recovering enough money to cover their initial down-payment and closing cost investment and not losing money should they have to sell in less than 5 years. This was the norm when I bought my first home, and we should get back to advising buyer’s of this especially given the horrors of the past two years of inflationary values and subsequent seemingly depreciated values, (really only applicable to people turning properties in less than 3 years)
  3. Lastly, know when to separate emotion from good business sense.  Most people initially choose their home based on an emotional attachment to something they see or feel about a home. First impressions are critical. I always like my folks to come back to a home a second time if possible. Most realtors would disagree, but I always tell my people, I have to sleep at night. I want you in that home with a fresh set of eyes, bring a friend, bring family, bring a notebook to make note of all that you see. Make notes of all that you like and would like to change. Those are the things that we need to weigh, to negotiate with, and that will bring you to a practical and business mindset.  I do not want my buyers coming to me a month after closing, to tell me that they hate their new home.


As a real estate professional, my first timers are the most impressionable. I love it when they call me afterwards, telling me how much fun they are having.. or invite me over to see what they have changed or are planning. Big smiles, always a heart warmer!


Purchasers of lots or land are other customers who I love to work with.

Dream a Home-Dream!

Dream a Home-Dream!

They come with a vision. They come with dreams and with home plans sometimes already in place. Land purchasers like to walk lots, to visit neighborhoods, and while it is important that I hear their dreams, I will make sure they are realistic about the costs of custom home construction if they are planning to build anytime soon.



Investors are fun, not as emotional, but depend on me to provide them with cash-flow analysis, opinions of value, analysis of renters including profiles, vacancy rates and ability to rent.  This is all about business and finding a property for either a short or long term investment. Knowing how to analyze investment property is crucial. I love working with both the veteran investor and the investor who is just beginning to put together an investment portfolio. An  investor never forgets their first investment property, and rarely do they forget who sold it to them!


I love working with all of these customers, and the variety that my job brings.  I ask for your referrals, whether they are in my area or across the nation. Finding a REALTOR, licensed, educated and who is ethical is important to me. My referral agents are picked by hand, interviewed by me ahead of time.. and matched to customers. If you hear someone talking about buying real estate or selling their home.. pass my name and this article to them! 

Debbie Works for her Customers

Debbie Works for her Customers


It’s a great time to buy…to invest. Rates have never been lower, and banks are lending. Individual investors can now acquire loans for up to 6 properties! Call a professional, Contact Debbie


Will Customers Hire Me from an Open House?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Realtors, Real Estate Advice, Realtor, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by realtordebbie

200187506-001 Nearly every Sunday I sit open houses for my sellers here in Tallahassee, FL.  While the goals of open houses are to expose a home to potential buyers, often times it is an opportunity for buyers to meet hardworking, professional and educated Realtors. It’s the perfect time to engage perfect strangers.  It’s also a time to let your personality shine through. When I am working with newer agents I try to remind them, not only must you be the most educated “kid” in the industry, but the most animated, exuberant and genuine Realtor they will see during their open house tour day.  It’s often your one shot to shine above the rest of your competition.

 Buyers have more homes to look at today than ever before. They are also going to meet more Realtors than ever. How are you going to stand out? Do you need a wiener-mobile, (although I have asked my kids for years to submit me for “Pimp My Ride” – I wouldn’t refuse!), a musical business card, or top hat and tap shoes? It’s really not that hard. Being prepared, and being able to recognize 3 simple kinds of open house visitors are all you really need. (That and a good breakfast!)


 I pretty much think you can classify open house buyers in three categories:


 First, Buyer’s who are just looking, we know them as the “tire-kickers”, not to be insulting, but basically, they are just “kicking” around thoughts in their heads. TireKickerPerhaps they are looking for ideas from new construction on how to fix up their homes, perhaps they are weighing their options of up-sizing or down-sizing. I love these folks! They are the ones that often enter with closed minds. not intentionally of course, but hopefully leave with something of value. In this instance, I provide a simple service whether a summation of industry news, market conditions, or at the very least a free valuation of their home. I believe in “remembrances, some call them freebies. I want these folks to remember me for taking the time to provide them with a service. A list of your services is a necessity for these folks. A perfect Brochure: “My Full-Time Realtor Service Portfolio.”


 Secondly, I see telmer-bugsstandoffhe standoffs. They rush in, pull back at “hello,” and rush out.  These will be the hardest customers for someone to deal with.  They do not understand Realtors, they are misinformed and often have pre-conceived notions whether from a bad experience or a predatory salesperson from the past, or they simply know it all anyway. Best to let these folks pass through and continue to call on every sign, they do not value your services or your time. A perfect flyer for these customers on the fly: “Why Use a Realtor and on the back, “How Realtors Get Paid.”  


 Thirdly, there are the wide-eyed wonders. Generally, these folks are excited, easily enamored and also easily disappointed. They want a new home, but perhaps bungee-jumper1have not been introduced to Realtors properly. They don’t have a clue how to begin a transaction or how to work with a Realtor. These folks are also your Easter eggs. These brightly shining, colorful folks are the ones you want to collect in your basket and watch over. With proper guidance, they will hatch into to happy, grateful customers who will produce more happy, grateful customers. For these folks, it is all about subtlety and education.  Have the tools they need on hand. The perfect package for these folks: An appointment card (for your Buyer Orientation), Why use a Realtor and how a Realtor Get’s Paid, A Buyer’s guide to FLORIDA Real estate (what to know about your state’s insurance, how your State Association is working to protect homeowner’s real estate interests), a first time home-owners package, and give them as much information as possible on a frequent basis. Register them to your website, your blogs; put them in an automated listing notification system. Call them when they get these notifications, review the listing that was sent and give them feedback before your ever show it. Let them know you know about this property even if you have to call the other agent to discuss it ahead of time. These are the customers that will eagerly research on their own, weed out the listings that are not of interest, and take your cards to other Realtors when they visit open houses, because… you will have trained them to do so! After all, it is great for customers to hear from other agents that their Realtor is a great Realtor! (I hope you reciprocate this!)


So, organize your thoughts and materials prior to your open house. Put your game face on for the kickers, bring the shield for the darts flying around the standoffs, and be ready to dance with the wide-eyed wonders! Ask yourself, “Would I pick me?” If not, well, that’s another article.